JAKE GYLLENHAAL ANNE HATHAWAY
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS
Director Edward Zwick who once delivered fascinating films like The Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire and Glory appears to be losing his touch with Defiance and now Love & Other Drugs. The first thing audiences need to understand is the false marketing for this film, it isn’t a romantic comedy as the trailer suggests, it’s a romance with very serious themes and some dark comedic elements. Love & Other Drugs, a terrible title, is also filled with nudity, this is not a film to see with your parents. This film marks the second time Oscar nominees Hathaway and Gyllenhaal have played an onscreen couple, Brokeback Mountain being the first. While there was early speculation that Hathaway’s performance might stir up awards buzz, after seeing the film I am confident it will not.
Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is being led through life by two things, his pursuit of money and using his favorite male body part as much as possible. He gets into the game of pharmaceutical sales, pushing the latest drugs to his assigned region, which turns out to be Ohio. He uses flirtation with any female to make the sale and provide himself with bedroom attention. When he meets Maggie Murdock (Hathaway) under false pretenses, her lack of interest in him only makes him persue her more, what begins as fun between the sheets, turns into a relationship. Maggie suffers from stage one Parkinson's disease and tries to prohibit anything long term happening between the two until Jamie falls completely in love with her.
This film certainly doesn’t give pill pushing salesmen a good reputation and even raises ethical concerns on the practices highlighted in the film. The film is from Jamie’s point of view which I think is a negative. Hathaway’s Maggie is much more interesting of a character and Hathaway periodically a better actor than the typically arrogant and self fulfilling Gyllenhaal. The chemistry between the two is viable but the script overuses nudity to the point the realism of the sex scenes is second nature to the purpose of titillating the audience. Hathaway’s Oscar nominated performance in Rachel Getting Married is still the most impressive role of her career, this is not even close to that. Gyllenhaal’s admirable days of October Sky and boyish charm are long gone.
Zwick who also co-wrote the script seems unsure exactly where he intends for this film to go, its focus is never really on one thing and that’s a problem. It’s not a mainstream film and it’s not an artistic one, it suffers from a lack of audience to cater to. The film has a few funny parts but as a whole never tells the right story, it never gets to the heart of the issue which is Maggie’s torment with Parkinson’s and we only get the build up their relationship will endure as her disease progresses, the film concludes all too happily before it really even gets started.
Final Thought – A raunchy, deceptive film.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih